From Karl Rove to Tom DeLay, with some nervous Republicans in between

As the indictment watch continues for Rove, other investigations and prosecutions move forward.

Published May 12, 2006 1:37PM (EDT)

As the networks stake out the federal courthouse in Washington for signs of Karl Rove's indictment, there's plenty of other action to watch on the investigation and prosecution front.

As the New York Times reports this morning, federal investigators are now looking into the actions of "several members" of the House Appropriations Committee in an "expansion" of the Randy "Duke" Cunningham case. The Times' story comes on the heels of a Los Angeles Times report that investigators were looking into the dealings of Rep. Jerry Lewis, the California Republican who chairs the committee. According to that report, the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles has issued subpoenas in search of information about the relationship between Lewis and Bill Lowery, a lobbyist and former member of Congress who has ties to Cunningham. As the paper notes, Lowery's lobbying firm represented defense contractor Brent Wilkes, an alleged -- but unindicted -- co-conspirator in the Cunningham case.

Lewis has denied any wrongdoing, and the New York Times' sources declined to identify other members of the Appropriations Committee who may be under investigation. They said the probe was still in its preliminary stages and has not yet developed specific evidence of wrongdoing.

The same can't be said, apparently, of the investigation into Ernie Fletcher, the Republican governor of Kentucky. A grand jury indicted Fletcher Thursday on charges that he paid off political supporters with state jobs. Although the charges are only misdemeanors, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office tells the Associated Press that a conviction on any of them could land Fletcher in jail and force him out of office. The governor's office is dismissing the indictment as the product of a "politically motivated, media-driven investigation" by a Democratic attorney general.

That sounds like the kind of thing that we've heard from Tom DeLay. The former House minority leader is in the news today himself. DeLay announced earlier this year that he won't be a candidate for reelection; now he says he'll resign from his seat in Congress effective June 9 to "pursue new opportunities to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day from an arena outside of the U.S. House of Representatives."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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